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bowdlerize

[bohd-luh-rahyz, boud-]
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verb (used with object), bowd·ler·ized, bowd·ler·iz·ing.
  1. to expurgate (a written work) by removing or modifying passages considered vulgar or objectionable.
Also especially British, bowd·ler·ise.

Origin of bowdlerize

1830–40; after Thomas Bowdler (1754–1825), English editor of an expurgated edition of Shakespeare
Related formsbowd·ler·ism, nounbowd·ler·i·za·tion, nounbowd·ler·iz·er, nounun·bowd·ler·ized, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for bowdlerize

Historical Examples

  • I have no wish to bowdlerize Sir Richard Steele, his ways and words.

    Essays

    Alice Meynell

  • She should not be allowed to disguise and bowdlerize it to suit the unwelcome tastes she had acquired at school.

    Joanna Godden

    Sheila Kaye-Smith

  • This is called "expurgating" the book; but people who disapprove often call it to bowdlerize.


British Dictionary definitions for bowdlerize

bowdlerize

bowdlerise

verb
  1. (tr) to remove passages or words regarded as indecent from (a play, novel, etc); expurgate
Derived Formsbowdlerization or bowdlerisation, nounbowdlerizer or bowdleriser, nounbowdlerism, noun

Word Origin

C19: after Thomas Bowdler (1754–1825), English editor who published an expurgated edition of Shakespeare
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for bowdlerize

v.

1836, from Thomas Bowdler (1754-1825), English editor who in 1818 published a notorious expurgated Shakespeare, in which, according to his frontispiece, "nothing is added to the original text; but those words and expressions omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family." Related: Bowdlerized; bowdlerizing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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